Title: When Writing Morphs into a Lifetime
Author: Myrna Lou Jastra
Genre: Historical / Romance
Reviewed by: Manik Chaturmutha
Pacific Book Review
When Writing Morphs into a Lifetime is a captivating and descriptive period piece written by Myrna Lou Jastra. Brimming with expression and reverence for its setting, it describes the post-war world of the Philippines in the mid-1900s.
A short and crisp tale of period drama and historical romance, the strongest strength of this book is the ties to real-world events and how the author captures the time that went by in descriptive and imaginative detail. It recounts the story of our protagonist, a hardworking and sincere Lou Ars, whose life and its happenings are detailed to us in vivid and satisfying ways.
The story revolves around Lou and her romantic interest, the charming military cadet Ermin Oro, and how they impact each other’s lives in interesting and unforeseen ways. They are met by fate due to the latter’s formal request for a writer, and what happens next is a tale to experience oneself. The author chooses a simple way of describing her characters and their settings, going into detail about their feelings and following the simple ways of ‘show, not tell’. Crisp and to the point, When Writing Morphs into a Lifetime is a tale spanning decades wrapped in stylistic wonder, thinking about what life would have been in those different and yet similar times.
The strongest point of When Writing Morphs into a Lifetime is the setting and the overarching theme. Writing is what drives our protagonist Lou and her life’s passion. She is enthralled by writing, and seeing her career in the field grow in the backdrop of the Philippines in the 1950s with mentions to real-life events (and even characters!), is fascinating. The importance of writing and literature is integral in Lou’s life, and how it shapes and helps her career, spanning decades, and her life and relationships; it is an inspiring tale. To the point and generally easy to read, the tale is concise yet descriptive in its depictions of the lead characters and their emotions and motivations. The characters are well-rounded and humane, and it is easy for the reader to root for them.
When Writing Morphs into a Lifetime is not a highly drama-heavy tale, with the narrative focusing on Lou and her normal life, at times eventful scenarios. It is meant to be a pleasant and calming read, to comfort and to inspire – and to showcase the beauty of life in the ordinary, and in that, it excels completely.